Building language structure and social action
This volume concerns the structure and use of fixed expressions in a range of typologically, genetically and areally distinct languages. The chapters consider the use contexts of fixed expressions, at the same time taking seriously the need to account for their structural aspects. Formulaicity is taken here as a central feature of everyday language use, and fixed expressions as a basic utterance building resource for interaction. Our crosslinguistic investigation suggests that humans have the propensity to automatize ways to handle various discourse-level needs for specific sequential contexts by creating (semi-)fixed expressions based on frequent patterns. The chapters examine topics such as the degrees and types of fixedness, the emergence of fixed expressions, their connection to social action, the new understanding of traditional linguistic categories in light of fixedness, crosslinguistic variation in types of fixed expressions, as well as their non-verbal aspects. The volume situates the notion of ‘units’ of language at the intersection of interaction and formal structure as part of a larger effort to replace rule-based conceptions of language with a more dynamic, realistic and pragmatically based model of language. The articles are based on naturally occurring data, mostly everyday conversation, in English, Estonian, Finnish, Japanese, and Mandarin, with some crosslinguistic comparison.
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 315] 2020. v, 238 pp.
Publishing status: Available
© John Benjamins
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. IntroductionRitva Laury and Tsuyoshi Ono | pp. 1–10
Chapter 2. ‘I understand’-initiated formulations of the other: A semi-fixed claim to the intersubjectiveLeelo Keevallik and Ann Weatherall | pp. 11–40
Chapter 3. Exploration into a new understanding of ‘zero anaphora’ in Japanese everyday talkTsuyoshi Ono and Ryoko Suzuki | pp. 41–70
Chapter 4. Formulaicity without expressed multiword unitsHongyin Tao | pp. 71–98
Chapter 5. English why don’t you X as a formulaic expressionSandra A. Thompson and Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen | pp. 99–132
Chapter 6. When an expression becomes fixed: mä ajattelin että ‘I thought that’ in spoken FinnishRitva Laury, Marja-Liisa Helasvuo and Janica Rauma | pp. 133–166
Chapter 7. The Finnish projector phrase se että as a fixed expressionAnna Vatanen, Karita Suomalainen and Ritva Laury | pp. 167–202
Chapter 8. Self-addressed questions as fixed expressions for epistemic stance marking in Japanese conversationTomoko Endo and Daisuke Yokomori | pp. 203–236
Index | pp. 237–238
“ Fixed Expressions is a remarkable contribution to studies on social interaction, more precisely the design of social actions and their points of connection with language structure and evolution. The volume and its chapters can appear as explorative in nature but make wonderful, thought-proving reading.”
Jan Lindström, University of Helsinki, in Contrastive Pragmatics 2022.
Subjects & Metadata
BIC Subject: CFG – Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis
BISAC Subject: LAN009030 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Pragmatics